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Dragon Age: Origins, the latest sword-swinging, magic-flinging, dragon-hunting game from BioWare, the makers of Baldur’s Gate, has just been released amidst great hype. And our verdict is simple: this game has the potential to suck in hours and hours of your life. [firstpara]

The game starts out with you choosing out and sculpting your character as you like. Along with distributing out your starting statistics, you choose from a variety of standard-fare fantasy races and classes, which will have an impact on how the world of Ferelden will treat you.

Once that’s done, the adventure begins. Do know, however, that every key decision from here on out affects the outcome of the story as well as how the characters you meet will interact with you. The world of Ferelden is beset with the threat of a looming invasion from an entire army of ugly, evil creatures referred to as darkspawn.

Other warriors and mages you meet along the course of this adventure will be of immeasurable help. The quest is a long one, but is never tiring thanks to the world’s rich mythology, engrossing characters, and fantastic, well-written storyline sprinkled with proper portions of action, suspense and humor. Bioware has once again done it, giving you a game that’s worth investing your gaming hours into.

As the spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate, the combat in Dragon Age: Origins is predictably familiar and friendly to those who have played previous Baldur’s Gate games. When dealing with lowly grunts, you can just queue up your attacks, magical or otherwise, with a button until the monsters die.

But once the going gets tougher, especially with the game’s epic bosses, you can pause the game to strategize and plot out your party’s moves, like who’s going to attack first, and which magic spells to use, or when to drink a health potion. This feature doesn’t just help you dole out the damage more efficiently; it is, in fact, necessary in the latter parts of the game to win.

The creatures you get to swing your blade at aren’t entirely new, but they do have added personality, which only makes the action all the more imaginative and enjoyable.

Dragon Age: Origins is as fun as any fantasy RPG we’ve had in recent and not-so-recent memory. It’s also as addictive as the best of ‘em, so make sure you have a lot of spare time in your hands.

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WORDS BY: GELO GONZALES

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